I am a London based artist. I have been a traveller most of my life and have been lucky enough to live in a variety of locations including Africa, Pakistan, Lebanon, America, Turkey and Paris.
In 2011 in Washington DC I embarked on an artistic journey which has consumed me ever since. I was invited to join a group of artists in a stone tower gallery adjoining a studio as ‘artists in residence’. This was my first opportunity to present artwork to the public which gave me the courage to continue.
On returning to London I attended the London Fine Art Studios (LFAS) part time to learn a classical method of drawing and painting portrait and figure from life. This provided a strong foundation from which to explore the process of observing, drawing and oil painting. At the same time I was privileged to study for a short time with the late Jason Bowyer, an artist who believed in the importance of drawing, direct observation, and searching for visual tension. His direction took me closer to what I was seeking – more lively semi realistic compositions enhanced with mark making.
Whilst I love to respond to dramatic and changing landscapes I am also interested in documenting life in the community. Volunteering has provided a valuable opportunity to observe a multicultural community in south London.
Using art to support people with visual impairment, mental health problems and loneliness has given me insight into the response of senses to the surrounding environment. This informs my own work as I experiment with materials to provide texture. It also prompts me to think about other ways of seeing and experiencing.
Instead of painting and sketching the well known landmarks of London and around the world I seek to find the small places that provide visual tension – an evening light on a building (Clapham Commuting), an allotment in winter, a tree in Richmond park. My preferred method is to observe the landscape for eye catching focus such as light and dark and contrasting form. I take notes and fill a sketchbook with watercolour, graphite and pastel studies. When there is opportunity I return to the same location on 2 to 3 occasions. Most compositions are further developed in a studio using the sketches, colour notes, photographic reference material and memory. I often produce the same study in different mediums and select the best fit for the subject; oil, soft pastel, water colour or mixed media.
In addition, I paint portraits of my family, community members and others (sometimes dogs) in the context where I know them.